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The dispersal pattern and behaviour of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence: results from tagging experiments

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We examined how the distribution of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is influenced by abiotic (temperature, salinity, depth, suitable habitat) and biotic (stock biomass) factors based on tagging−recapture data collected from 1995 to 2008 by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. We calculated a centre of gravity index and a dispersion index using only individuals recaptured more than 1 year after tagging during the summer. The centre of gravity showed a northward expansion and eastward contraction in recent years, reflecting both fish distribution and changes in fishing effort. The dispersion index was significantly related to temperature, habitat suitability, and biomass but not to salinity or depth. These results indicate that interannual fluctuations of temperature and stock abundance both influence the dispersion pattern of cod. This new information could influence spatio-temporal fisheries management strategies for northern Gulf cod.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Pêches et Océans Canada, Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, 850 route de la mer, C.P. 1000, Mont-Joli, QC G5H 3Z4, Canada. 2: Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski, 310 allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1, Canada.

Publication date: 2012-01-16

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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